Do you know what psaligraphy is? I didn´t either, until a few years ago when I discovered Karen Bit Vejle´s fantastic art. Now I know it is the same as paper cutting, the craft H.C.Andersen mastered so perfectly well.
The Saint Olav Festival 2013 opened today. One of this year´s focuses is Istanbul, and yesterday afternoon Terje and I went to a presentation by the Norwegian author Thorvald Steen. Steen knows Istanbul better than most people, several of his books are translated into Turkish and he is a honorary citizen of the city.
Today´s presentation was the first in a series of four, which will be held the coming days, and the interest was much bigger than predicted. We sat som sild i tønne/like sardines in a barrel as we say in Norway, but when Steen started to talk we were soon transported far away from the crowded room.
A young woman sat on the floor, right in front of my feet. During the one hour presentation she was busy drawing.
I spoke with her afterwards, and she told me that instead of reporting from the festival with camera and words, she has got a press accreditation as a drawer. So the coming week she will be walking around, at concerts, services, the historial market, pilgrim walks, presentations, art exhibitions, street life, and all that will be going on, using her pencils only, to tell her tales.
You can follow Live F.Olsen and her St.Olav Festival adventure though her website
In the Green Pilgrimage Network all different religions are gathered. We want to fight for our environment together, as green pilgrims.
Yesterday we discussed the Jordan River Rehabilitation project.
The Middle East is and has been one of the world´s most difficult conflict areas. I remember Carolyn, my Indian mother, once said to me "BrittArnhild, read and learn as much as possible about the Middle East. It has been, it is and it will be the center of all the world´s conflicts" The other night I had dinner with one of the delegates from the Middle East. he said "give us peace in the Middle East and thousands of people in the UNsystem will lose their jobs"
The conference hall filled with tension. It is impossible not to when such a topic is on the agenda.
Our meeting was not one to solve the old problems though. Our very important task is to walk together, as pilgrims, even through this thousand years old conflict.
The swifts were, during the conference, launched as a symbol for green pilgrims. (I am sorry I have no photos of swifts, only this little droodling I did during our discussions.....
so the seagulls from Lofoten have to do....... aren´t they beautiful.....)
The swifts travel freely, in Jerusalem, all of the Middle East, a wall never stops them, and all over the rest of the world.
Let the swifts be a symbol of green pilgrims, and of peace between all people.
Together with ARC, The Alliance of Religions and Concervations, we are hosting a pilgrom conference these days, with delegates from 26 different ARC members, 12 different confessions, from all over the world. Green Pilgrimage Network.
Some time during the day Professor Chris Baines had a launch of the swift pilgrim initiative. With swifts as a symbol for green pilgrims everywhere.
After a long day of meetins and excursions, we gathered outside the hotel where the conference is run, and had a procession up to Nidaros cathedral.
Led by Rev. Martin Palmer from ARC and rev Berit Lånke from the National PIlgrim Center here in Tronheim, we were easy to be seen through the city.
A colourful fellowship.
Outside the cathedral we had a Celebration of the Journey of the Pilgrim, drawing upon insights, prayers, readings and thoughts from all the different faiths represented.
A remarkable hour. An hour where the swifts of Nidaros cathedral joined us.
I´ll share with you a litle from the celebration:
The 20th century poet T.S.Eliot summed up that moment of arrival when, having made the journey, you surrender yourself to the experience of holiness- to the feeling that the gap between heaven and earth is gossamer thin. In Celtic thought holy places are called thin places for that reason. The poem was written about a "thin" place called Little Gidding in England, which is why is mentions England in the final line. We suggest you substitute the name of your own thin place.
If you came this way, taking any route, starting from anywhere, at any time or at any reason, it would always be the same: you would have to put off sense and notion. You are not here to verify, instruct yourself, or inform curiosity or carry report. You are here to kneel where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more than an order of words, the conscious occupation of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying. And what the dead had no speech for, when living, they can tell you, being dead: the communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living. Here, the intersection of the timeless moment is England and nowhere. Never and always.
Faithful Pilgrims: A conference where you make friends from ALL over the world.
The first photo shows the statue of St.Jacob on the west front of Nidaros Cathedral. On July 25th, St.Jacob´s day, he always gets a garland. This year a black ribbon was added. During our conference we have two white candles lit:
one for the pilgrims on the train in Santiago de Compostela one for pilgrims affected by terrible floodings in northern India
I came out in the garden early this morning, with my breakfast. Then I saw something on the wall. At first I couldn´t figure out what it was, but then I realised it was a pure, simple lovesomg among two snails. I had my cell phone with me and took several pictures and videos.....
..... but I have absolutely no idea how to share one of the videos here.....
So.....will it do with a garden bench instead?
.....or may be some of you can give me a helping hand.....
My thinking cap has not helped me so far
What I can give you though is a couple of photos of the snails, may be a video would be too imtimate and private anyway ;-)
And then I managed to upload one of the videos on my facebook page. Slugs mating
It has been a very active year for travels. Here, there and everywhere. I am still working on the Bascelona travel diary, and for hours every day now I am making preparation for the next trip abroad. And as always, the more I read and learn about a "new" place, the faster my heart beats and blood flows.
But in between I need to nurture my roots, and the best place to do that is in The Blue Garden.
The Blue Garden is painted in all the colours of the rainbow just now. I sit down, I walk around, and I let the beauty shower my skin.
Red roses, orange tagetes, yellow poppies, green a million shades of green, blue jacob´s ladder, indigo hostas, violet in a multitude of shades in the herb garden. And a bed is overflowing with blue, red and violet columbines and pink late peonies inherited from a neighbour, blooming for the first time this summer.
I brought out my camera to capture the rainbow, and ended up with a series of macro photos of a fading dandelion.
Rain and sun creates the rainbow.
Without grey the colours would be hard to see.
From time to time I need to live through the macro lens.
Elva is the same, though it is bigger now with a single woman living there than it was with grandpa Johannes, grandma Ragna and their seven children (an an extra man during the war when the nearest town Kristiansund was bombed). The view out the windows is the same. Many of the walls are the same, and so is the old floor.
But most else is different.
Bente, who lives in Elva now, and who loves the house with all her heart, is a collector. A true collector.
Bente is a treasure hunter, and almost every weekend she is browsing flea markets and antique fairs. "She knows what she is looking for" her mother says with a proud smile. "When she comes to a new place she take one overlook, and then head straight for the best treasures. And she gets them all"
Elva is filled to the brim. Ground floor where the photos are from, first floor where we were allowed to explore as much as we liked, without camera "oh no, it is too messy up here for photos" We never saw the basement.
I wish I had an eye on every finger, or rather, on every toe......
Bente served coffee, and my father´s tales were the sweetest pastries. Dad - "the house up near the road used to be a store. I remember it was robbed once and the safe was stolen. Later I was the one who found the safe up on the marshes. It was too heavy for me to carry and I ran home to tell the police" Me- "but dad, why have you never told your grandchildren this exciting story?" Dad- "I never remembered it, not until now"
Ole K., thanks for organizing this for us Bente, thanks for opening your home and your heart
In 1933, as the fifth of seven siblings, the first of two boys, my father was born in a little house on a small island. Later another sister and another brother was born, and Johannes and Ragna lived with their five daughters and two sons in the white house just where the river met the ocean, in Elva (the River).
All my life I´ve heard my father talk about Elva, and in my mind I had a clear vision of what the place looked like. I visited once when I was a little child and probably my vision was fed then, because when we came to Elva yesterday, it looked exactly like I remember, and at the same time so much better. It looked like the paradise my father has talked about through my whole life.
"Look BrittArnhild" was the first thing he said when we had walked down to the road to the old farm "there is the stabbur (storehouse) where I tried to climb up to the roof, fell down head first and got a concussion"
All of a sudden my 80 years old father was a boy again, I had a wonderful time following him around, with my camera, listening to his tales.
"Look, there is where I made myself a ski jump in the winters. I was an only boy with a handful of sister, little brother Jostein was born much later. The girls didn´t much care to have me around, so I had to make my own games"
"There is the telephone my parents bought"
"The sea where I was out all by myself in the rowing boat, fishing, from I was a little boy. My father was a teacher, and during WWII he got no pay for his work, like all other teachers in Norway. It was a hard time for my mother to find food for all of us. My fishing helped a lot"
My grandparents moved to Trondheim eventually, and in 1954 they sold Elva. Bente, who lives there now, is the granddaughter of the couple who bought the placefrom grandpa Johannes and grandma Ragna. Bente, and her parents, kindly opened Elva when we came yesterday. And they had their own Elva tales to add to my father´s.
A special love for old houses on small islands was given me when I was born, nurished through my childhood.
Coming to Elva felt like coming home.
All the work and love Bente and her parents has given to Elva made it all the more special.
In my next post I´ll take you indoors. And believe me, you really have something to look forward to!
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway. I love everydays and post about my steps through life. Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Welcome over!